Dennis Jon McKenna (born December 17, 1950) is an American ethnopharmacologist and author. His research led to the development of natural products for Aveda Corporation as well as greater awareness of natural products and medicines. He has authored numerous scientific articles and books, including co-authoring the book Invisible Landscape with his brother Terence McKenna. McKenna spent a number of years as a senior lecturer for the Center for Spirituality and Healing, part of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is now a senior research scientist for the Natural Health Products Research Group at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the Vancouver area.
Dennis Mckenna serves on the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council, and on the Editorial Board of Phytomedicine, International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. He is a founding board member and Vice-President of the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to the investigation of therapeutic applications for psychedelic plants and compounds. He has also served as board member and Research Advisor to Botanical Dimensions, a non-profit organization dedicated to the investigation of ethnomedically significant plants. He was a primary organizer and key scientific collaborator for the Hoasca Project, an international biomedical study of Hoasca, a psychoactive drink used in ritual contexts by indigenous peoples and syncretic religious groups in Brasil. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. He has served as invited speaker at numerous scientific congresses, seminars, and symposia. Dr. McKenna is author or co-author of over 35 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Brain Research, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurochemistry, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Economic Botany, and elsewhere.
Ethnopharmacology & Ethnobotany
Natural Products and Drug Discovery
Dennis McKenna Interview by Blake C. Erickson (03-20-09).mp4
Blake C. Erickson of Pineal Music Productions interviews Dr. Dennis McKenna- (Ethnobotanist, Ethnopharmacologist, Professor at the University of Minnesota, Author, Wise Heretic, and brother of the late Terence McKenna).
Filmed March 20, 2009. Edited by Pineal Music Productions.
Topics: Ethnobotany/Ethnopharmacology, Shamanism, Altered-States of Consciousness, Psychedelics Throughout Nature. Indigenous People, Ayahuasca, Psychedelics, Altered-States of Consciousness, Shamanism, Pharmacopeia , Human Evolution, Neuroscience. Language, Synestisia, Human Brain, Neuroscience, Psychedelics, Mushrooms, Forbidden Fruit & Tree of Knowledge, Christianity. Faith, Spirituality, Evolutionary Odyssey, Psychedelics, Crashed Starship, Consciousness. Psychedelics, Entities, Spirits, Psilocybin, DMT and Ayahuasca experiences, Intelligence, The Human Brain, Modeled Reality, Neurophysiology. Psychedelics, Tryptamines, DMT, 5-MeO DMT, Psilocybin, Psilocin, Serotonin, Neurotransmitters, Cannabis, Cannabinoid Receptors, Medical Marijuanna. Ayahuasca experience, Ayahuasca visions, Shamanism, Pablo Amaringo, Amazon, Supernatural experiences.
Dennis McKenna - Defeating the Death Culture (2008).mp4
Dennis McKenna PhD. - DMT- The Spirit Molecule documentary 1-4.mp4
http://thespiritmolecule.com The Spirit Molecule explores the enigmatic dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a molecule found throughout nature, and considered the most potent psychedelic. In 1995, Dr. Strassman completed the first government-sanctioned, psychedelic research on DMT, with results that may answer humanitys greatest questions.
Terence and Dennis McKenna - True Hallucinations - Cognition Factor.avi
Dennis McKenna, Ph.D. - Neuroscience and Spirituality (2004).avi
from the 2004 Altered States and the Spiritual Awakening conference in San Francisco, California - http://www.assacon.com/2004/media.html
Recent scientific advances and new techniques in neuroscience have enabled scientists to study the relationships between brain function and spiritual experiences. This presentation will provide an overview of current research.
Our very special guest this week will be Dr. Dennis McKenna. Dennis and his brother Terence, traveled to the Amazonâs La Chorrera seeking a hallucinogenic plant that enables the Witoto tribe to talk to elf-like âlittle men.â These experiences seem to connect to the DMT, and psilocybin compound experiences as well.
But thereâs possibly a greater connection to the UFO/alien phenomena you may or may not know about. In this episode weâll explore these compounds, their effects upon ingestion, and whether or not these âhallucinationsâ are opening an altered state of consciousness that allows for repeatable contact with the âotherâ. Are these the UFO enigmaâs âaliensâ?
Expanding Mind with Erik Davis - Dennis McKenna (08-30-09).mp3
This week's guest is Dennis McKenna, ethnobotanist, expert in the pharmacology of ayahuasca and other visionary plants, and brother of legendary mushroom bard Terence McKenna.
Alkaloids & Evolution: (lecture from http://www.botanicalpreservationcorps.com/ converted from cassette to .wav to four 48kbps mp3 files)
The actual title of this lecture is "Plant Allelochemicals and Plant/Human Co-Evolution", but it was abbreviated for economy of space. This should be of great interest to anyone who has pondered or actually studied the relationship between plant chemistry and human evolution. Dennis speaks from a well-informed and scientifically based perspective, but he is not afraid to elucidate his own theories about this important subject. Included among the issues he discusses is the question of why alkaloids and other so-called "secondary" plant compounds exist at all. While being somewhat technical in nature, this lecture should he accessible to anyone who has even the most rudimentary knowledge of plant chemistry.
The Ayahuasca (Hoasca) Project: (lecture from http://www.botanicalpreservationcorps.com/ converted from cassette to .wav to two 48kbps mp3 files)
The scarcity of hard data on the biodynamics of the long-term consumption of consciousness-altering plants has hindered scientific discussion on the subject, and has also allowed opponents of sacramental plant use to continue their demonizing of such plants while remaining largely unchallenged. Through the efforts of Dennis McKenna and a dedicated, multidisciplinary team of scientists that information void may eventually be replaced by an abundance of conclusive data. Following rigorous scientific methods, the Hoasca Project is conducting an ongoing, double-blind study of members of a Brazilian church who regularly ingest an ayahuasca potion as their sacrament. The participants constitute a typical cross-section of mostly middle-class Brazilian society, citizens in good community standing who are proud to take part in such an unprecedented study. The importance of this project to science cannot be overstated, and this report provides a comprehensive overview of the work in progress.
The Experiment at La Chorrera: (from the talking book 'True Hallucinations' read by Terence and Dennis McKenna - notes from Dennis' journal brought on their 1971 journey of discovery in the Amazon - eight 48kbps mp3 files)
A technology that would internalize the body and exteriorize the soul will develop parallel to the move to space. The Invisible Landscape, a book by my brother and myself, made an effort to short-circuit that chronology and, in a certain sense, to force the issue. It is the story, or rather it is the intelectual underpinnings of the story, of an expedition to the Amazon by my brother and myself and several other people in 1971. During that expedition, my brother formulated an idea that involved using harmine and harmaline, compounds that occur in Banisteriopsis caapi, the woody vine that is the basis for ayahuasca. We undertook an effort to use harmine in conjunction with the human voice in what we called "the experiment at La Chorrera." It was an effort to use sound to charge the molecular structure of harmine molecules metabolizing in the body in such a way that they would bind preferentially and permanently with endogenous molecular structures.
Our candidate at the time was neural DNA, though Frank Barr, a researcher into the properties of brain melanin, has made a convincing case that there is as great a likelihood that harmine acts by binding with melanin bodies. In either case, the pharmacology involves binding with a molecular site where information is stored, and this information is then broadcast in such a way that one begins to get a mental readout on the structure of the soul. Our experiment was an effort to use a kind of shamanic technology to bell the cat, if you will, to hang a superconducting, telemetric device on the Overmind so that there would be a continuous readout of information from that dimension. The success or failure of this attempt may be judged for oneself.
Purchase the audiobook on CD or cassette tape:
Download the entire True Hallucinations audiobook:
Miguelito Lasky - Dave of True Hallucinations - The Experiment at La Chorrera.mp3
Miguelito Lasky (1977) Experiment at La Chorera as told by âDaveâ. Sound Photosynthesis, Mill Valley CA. Miguelito Lasky: Dave, of True hallucinations (1993). Recorded casually in South America in 1977. McKenna orginally marketed this tape as part of his Lux Natura mail order business.
In this essay, the author shares his personal reflections gleaned from a lifetime of research with ayahuasca, and speculates on the societal, political, planetary, and evolutionary implications of humanity's aeons-old symbiosis with this shamanic plant. The thesis is developed that at this critical historical juncture, ayahuasca has developed a strategy to broadcast its message to a wider world--a reflection of the urgent need to avert global ecological catastrophe. While ayahuasca has much to teach us, the critical question is, will humanity hear it, and heed it, in time?
Human Psychopharmacology of Hoasca.pdf
A multinational, collaborative, biomedical investigation of the effects of hoasca (ayahuasca), a potent concoction of plant hallucinogens, was conducted in the Brazilian Amazon during the summer of 1993. This report describes the psychological assessment of 15 long-term members of a syncretic church that utilizes hoasca as a legal, psychoactive sacrament as well as 15 matched controls with no prior history of hoasca ingestion. Measures administered to both groups included structured psychiatric diagnostic interviews, personality testing, and neuropsychological evaluation. Phenomenological assessment of the altered state experience as well as semistructured and open-ended life story interviews were conducted with the long-term use hoasca group, but not the hoasca-naive control group. Salient findings included the remission of psychopathology following the initiation of hoasca use along with no evidence of personality or cognitive deterioration. Overall assessment revealed high functional status. Implications of this unusual phenomenon and need for further investigation are discussed.
Dennis McKenna - Neurochemistry and neurotoxicity of MDMA.pdf
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; also known as 'Ecstasy') is a ring-substituted phenylisopropylamine that is related to both amphetamines and hallucinogens, such as mescaline (Fig. 1). Although the drug was patented in 1914, interest in the compound was minimal until the past decade. During this period, MDMA began to be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by certain therapists due to its purported ability to induce a state of reduced anxiety and lowered defensiveness (Downing, 1986; Greer and Tolbert, 1986). In addition, the recreational use of MDMA, particularly on college campuses, appears to have increased significantly in recent years (Peroutka, 1987). The human use of this agent is of concern due to the fact that MDMA and some of its congeners are selective serotonergic neurotoxins in laboratory animals.
Partly as result of the recent interest in MDMA, numerous investigators have begun to explore the neurochemical effects of MDMA. During the past 3 years, over 80 publications on MDMA have appeared in the scientific literature. The following review attempts to provide a brief summary of recent data on the neurochemistry and neurotoxicity of MDMA and its derivatives.
Dennis and Terence McKenna - The Invisible Landscape
Left in the Dark expounds the most radical reinterpretation of existing evidence from the disciplines of evolution, ecology, neurology, psychology, anthropology and other academic fields, whilst also placing the ancient âAges of Mankindâ mythology and related traditions within a scientific context. These universal traditions were once the only version of history we had, they describe the onset and progression of a neurodegenerative condition that really has left us in the dark. Often considered no more than the imaginings of a primitive mind and easy to dismiss as mere myths, they are in fact a more accurate natural history of humankind than modern science has thus far recognised. The book outlines the origin and nature of a condition that eventually left us virtually blind to its existence. Evidence is cited that supports such a scenario. A means of definitively testing its validity is proposed and most importantly what can be done to treat the condition and prevent its occurrence. While this may seem a challenging prospect it promises amongst other things the restoration of phenomenal abilities, exceptional immune function and most importantly a greatly enhanced state of mind and well being only rarely glimpsed by a tiny minority.
A neurodegenerative theory, such as the one outlined in Left in the Dark, which proposes that the development of our brain has become seriously retarded would accurately predict a number of major psychological symptoms.
For example making sense of who or what we are or recognising the insanity of our day to day behaviour would be virtually impossible.
Furthermore such a theory would predict that even if there were overwhelming evidence to support such a scenario we would be slow to understand the context, specific nature and severity of our predicament, even if it were pointed out in laypersons languageâ¦